[Managing the Creative Organization] Project Proposal
Project Manager: [Marcus Esquandolis]
Sponsor: [Branson School of Business]
Prepared by: Scott Whittaker
Description of change
Teach current and future organizational leaders to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency through the ability to manage creativity.
The managerial skills which foster innovation are a unique set of interpersonal skills which are often not covered in sufficient detail in a business school curriculum, but which are increasingly in demand. A course of this nature is already a required part of the MBA curriculum, but not has not been updated since 2010. Such a course is unique among MBA programs within the environment in which the university competes.
The current course offering is a hybrid course. The class meets weekly, in person, for three hours. The remaining engagement hours are facilitated through online activities, including readings, videos, discussion boards and activities. All topical materials, readings etc, will be provided through Blackboard. In-class activities will consist of discussion and activities which relate to the study material.
This is a multi-disciplinary course drawing upon the subjects of psychology, marketing, management, general business, fine arts, philosophy, and leadership disciplines. Students will examine what it means to be creative, what environmental elements foster creativity and what managers can do to leverage creativity as a competitive strategy.
The course material, topics, activities, assessments and timeline will be completely reviewed, updated, and changed, if and where necessary.
Project Selection & Ranking Criteria
Project benefit category:
XX Revenue increase
Portfolio fit and interdependencies
The course is currently a requirement for all MBA programs
Project urgency: Moderate to high. Course update for the coming year is scheduled as part of the school’s development schedule.
The redevelopment of the course can mostly be managed within existing school resources. The Department Chair will act as project manager and we will utilize our existing Instructional Designers, Blackboard license and Adobe Captivate license for the development of online materials. Internal specialists, such as Media Specialists, etc., can be retasked to this assignment as part of their general responsibilities/duties. The largest expense will be Subject Matter Expert (SME). compensation. In this regard, it is anticipated that we will work with one of our existing Associate Faculty to whom the universities standard contract fee of $3500 will be offered. SME’s are paid $2,500 at the completion of the course draft and the balance upon the course being fully approved. The majority of other expenses associated with the project will all be indirect expenses.
As our MBA program is fairly new, enrollment is not yet equal to that of our other programs. It is expected that enrollment will increase and that a refreshed curriculum will draw increased enrollment commitment. Currently, we attract approximately 20 students per year, who begin their program at two points per year, Spring and Fall. Assuming a 10% increase over the next 3 years, at the current course cost per student, gross revenue is expected to be:
69 students X $793/credit hour X 3 credit hours = 161,151.00, over three years. Therefore the cost of redevelopment is a fraction of the projected revenue. This is a cost effective investment, one which is hoped will spur higher levels of enrollment.
Estimated Project Completion Date: October 2018
Based on our project plan (please see the attached), it is estimated that the project would take 12 weeks from start to finish and use 331 hours of time from three team members; 52 hours of project manager time, 154 hours of Subject Matter Expert (SME) time and 127 hours time of an Instructional Designer.
Quality Control Plan
As part of the initial planning period, the Project Manager needs to establish monitoring criteria to monitor the progress of the project. Such criteria may include monitoring key milestones, quality and budget (Russell, 2015). In regard to this project of redesigning the course entitled Managing Creativity, the two key quality measures are:
While some flexibility is possible within the development schedule, once we are committed to the project, we want to ensure a consistent effort to conclude its development and, of course, we need to adhere to all the pertinent educational standards. In examining the areas for risk to the success of the project, much is riding on the selection of an effective Subject Matter Expert (SME).
The New England Association of College and Universities states that:
“The preparation and qualifications of all faculty and academic staff are appropriate to the nature of their assignments. Qualifications are measured by advanced degrees held, evidence of scholarship, advanced study, creative activities, and teaching abilities, as well as relevant professional experience, training, and credentials” (NEASC, 2017).
Beyond these qualities, one must ensure that the Subject Matter Expert is able to commit to the project and remains dedicated to its completion. This risk can be mitigated by proper vetting of potential candidates.
The main metric for measuring academic rigor are contact or engagement hours; the number of hours per week in which the student is engaged with the material. Student engagement is, generally, the extent to which students actively engage by thinking, talking, and interacting with the content of a course, the other students in the course, and the instructor (Dixson, 2015).
University policy is that a Masters level course (500 level and up) is 20 hours per week. For the proposed course, a hybrid course, 3 hours per week will be taken up by an “onground”, live classroom experience. The rest of the engagement, 17 hours, will be online through Blackboard. Online activities will include discussion boards and activity learning packages. All assignments/assessments will be available through Blackboard and will be submitted through Blackboard. Though students will also prepare outside the classroom for in-class activities and presentations.
The Rice Center for Teaching Excellence (n.d.) estimates that one hour of reading technical material equates to approximately 67 pages while writing an argumentative essay takes a student about one and a half hours per page (250 words, double spaced). Based on this and other research, we would estimate that the online engagement for the student would break down as follows:
The Subject Matter Expert and Instructional Designer (ID) will use an Excel based algorithm to assist them in ensuring their products meet the engagement standard. The development team will work with the Curriculum Development Committee and Academic Affairs Committee to ensure the course is compliant with all accreditation requirements and academic standards. It is projected the course will be 12 weeks in development. The Project Manager will present the aforementioned committees with the material developed at the half-way point and at the end of the development period (and more frequently if necessary) for their review, feedback and approval.
As stated, the course development schedule is expected to be 12 weeks. The bulk of the development period is expected to take place between weeks four and 11, allowing for planning during the first few weeks and the last week for review and finalization. Thus, the critical period will be 7 weeks in length. The SME and ID will be provided a schedule which is carefully broken down into chunks which are designed to be manageable as well as facilitate a careful monitoring of the process. For example, in program week 7, the SME will be expected to submit the resources for course weeks 1 through 4 and the resources for weeks 5 through 8 will be submitted the following week. An overview of the development schedule is as follows:
In short, each week during the development period there will be a very specific set of deliverables from team members. Please refer to the previously submitted GANTT chart. The Project Manager will monitor the submission of deliverables on time. If products are not submitted on time, the Project Manager will communicate directly with either the SME or the ID to ascertain why there has been a delay and, if necessary, assist the team in removing the impediments to the delay. The failure to provide deliverables on time will be one of the key process quality indicators monitored by the Project Manager and will be the trigger for intervention.
Russell, L. (2015). Project Management for Trainers. Alexandria, VA: Association For Talent Development.
NEASC.org (2017). Accreditation: Reflection, Review, Renewal. Retrieved from: https://www.neasc.org
Dixson, M (2015). Measuring student engagement in the online course: the online student engagement scale (OSE). Retrieved from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1079585.pdf
RCTE, (n.d.). How much should we assign? estimating out of class workload. [web log comment]. Retrieved from: http://cte.rice.edu/blogarchive/2016/07/11/workload